We don’t want to be sold; we want to be loved. So how should you go about getting us consumers to buy what you are selling? We want to be loved, but we also love it when businesses get it right: with their products, with their services, with their understanding of who we really are and what we really want.
Make sure that what you are selling is what your customers want. This seems simple, right? And yet, five questions come immediately to mind:
- Then why does Microsoft keep adding elements to their Vista operating system that we hate?
- Why do the cable companies make us buy 140 channels when we only watch 10 of them?
- Why does Google continually kick Yahoo’s butt in online search?
- Why do I love my Thor-lo athletic socks so much?
- How can Apple get away with charging a premium for all of its products?
The answer to the first two questions is that Microsoft and the cable companies are making decisions that have little to do with customer needs and lots to do with maintaining multiple marketing relationships with their constituent marketing partners. Good things to do, perhaps, but not for the ultimate users of their products.
Google’s dominance is based on one consumer insight: when I am searching, I just want an efficient search. Bells and whistles are a distraction.
The answer to the fourth question is that Thor-lo has spared no expense in getting the little things right about socks. Toe seams have been tied without creating a little bump that chafes against my big toe. The extra padding in the sole is acutally still there after the second washing. The elastic in the top of the sock never goes slack. I gladly pay $10 per pair and consider it a great value.
The answer to the fifth question is that Steve Jobs and Apple are geniuses in the design of user interfaces. Sure the Apple operating systems is buggy, at times, and the I Phone network is a joke, but the overall design of the parts we use is beautiful and intuitive. Again, I am happy to pay extra for such elegant design.
The answer to all of the questions is that some companies spend the effort in time, money and expertise to wow us with their understanding of our needs. This becomes part of the product design and the marketing.
Marketing intelligence greases the wheels of customer delight. When used properly, market research can uncover most of the customer insights you need to ensure that your widget works the way your customers want it to. You can validate the rightness of the product size and packaging. You can make sure you are selling to the right customer.
Sell without shame and without guile. If you have done all this, the marketing process is pretty easy. You can charm your audience with the simplicity of your offer. You can wow them with your attentiveness to their needs. You can woo them with the beauty of your design. Then your customers will love you, of course. And isn’t that what we all want, finally, to be loved?
Verve Marketing is a consultancy that offers strategy, planning, market research and business analysis. We apply highly evolved thinking about how to influence consumers and their agents, especially for products and services designed for people over the age of 50. Every marketing problem is a little different, though, and we approach each project with verve and an open mind.